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THOMAS B. SHAW, B.A.,
PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE IMPERIAL ALEXANDER
LYCEUM OF ST. PETERSBURG.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
TO THE READER.
The author of the following pages has been engaged, during some years, as Professor of English Literature in the Imperial Alexander Lyceum of St. Petersburg; and, both in the discharge of his duties there and in his private teaching, he has very frequently felt the want of a Manual, concise but comprehensive, on the subject of his lectures. The plan generally adopted in foreign countries, of allowing the pupil to copy the lecturer's manuscript notes, was in this case found to be impracticable; and the oftenrepeated request of the students to be furnished with some elementary book, as a framework or skeleton of the course, could only be met by a declaration, singular as the fact might appear, that no such work, cheap, compendious, and tolerably readable, existed in English. The excellent volumes of Warton are obviously inapplicable to such a purpose; for they only treat of one portion of English literature—the poetry; and of that only down to the Elizabethan age. Their plan, also, is far too extensive to render them useful to the general student. Chambers's valuable and complete 'Cyclopædia of English Literature' is as much too voluminous as his shorter sketch is too dry and list-like; while the French and German essays on the subject are not only limited in their scope, but are full of very erroneous critical judgments.
Induced by these circumstances, the author has en